Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Do Not Fear La Leche League!

submitted by Mama M

Breastfeeding has been a challenging road for us, and still is to this day, 6 months later. At first it seemed like it would be easy, baby C latched on the first try in the hospital and I thought I had just the normal amount of discomfort. A few weeks later, when the discomfort just continued to get worse I went to see the first lactation consultant (at Isis), she told me that baby C had a high palate and I needed to basically shove as much of my boob in there as I could. This meeting was very stressful and I left feeling rushed and not very supported.

Another few weeks pass and the pain was only getting worse, I went to see the second lactation consultant (at Lactation Care in Newton). I liked this experience much better, and would highly recommend them (even though it didn’t quite solve my problems). This consultant said that we had thrush and recommended treatment, she helped by calling the pediatrician who called in prescriptions for baby C for Nystation oral and for me for APNO. Unfortunately I had a terrible reaction to the APNO (burning sensation), but I persisted with this treatment- twice!

Thrush is a yeast infection, and its symptoms can present in either or both mom and baby. Online I read it described as ‘deep breast pain’, personally I would describe it as feeling like someone wearing a metal glove was periodically throughout the day grabbing my boob and squeezing it- ouch!

Fast forward another month, still having pain, and I had moved halfway across the country due to my husband’s job.  I am currently living far from family and friends, in a small town in southern Illinois (after previously having lived in New York City and Boston), where the closest Starbucks is 80 miles away in another state and the nearest Whole Foods is 3 hours away. Yup, we got Walmart and that’s about it. Actually it is a cute college town, just not the big city I am used to. So, with not much around, I reach out to La Leche League leader and she suggested trying a holistic treatment of Gentian Violet and Vinegar rinses. Within days the pain that I had endured for 3 ½ months subsided. It was like a whole new world.

Now, even though the LLL leader had helped me by email/phone, I was still hesitant to attend a meeting. I expected it would be all hippie-women wearing scarves and talking about how beautiful and natural and easy breastfeeding is. Boy, was I wrong. The women at the meeting are incredibly supportive about breastfeeding and all kinds of parenting issues, many of the leaders had issues with breastfeeding themselves which is why they want to help other mothers. Shame on me for judging them before I even met them.

Being out here in the middle of America, it can be hard to meet other moms and make friends. Well, going to the LLL meetings is one way that I have been able to meet some fabulous women who are very open-minded and supportive, and had some fun playdates.

Pregnant and planning to breastfeed? Get yourself to a La Leche League meeting before the baby comes. Have a newborn baby and having issues? Stop by your local chapter meeting for support or call your local leader, they really do just want to help.

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